Seth co-founded Democracy Works while receiving a master's in public policy at the Harvard Kennedy School of Government. He is a member of the Council on Foreign Relations and previously worked there as a research associate (where he founded CFR's annual capture the flag game). He has also been a program administrator at the Institute for International Education and a berktern at Harvard's Berkman Center for Internet and Society. While earning a BA in economics at Columbia University, Seth served as student body president, leading the council in successfully lobbying Columbia to reform its financial aid policies. In 2011, he was honored as one of Forbes magazine's '30 Under 30' in the field of law and policy. Seth is also a Draper Richards Kaplan entrepreneur and Ashoka Fellow.
Kathryn Peters, Co-Founder & COO
Kathryn Peters is a co-founder of Democracy Works. Her belief in better democracy has taken her from campaign organizing in rural Missouri to a master's in public policy at the Kennedy School of Government to political rights monitoring in Afghanistan. Katy has also worked for the information management team for the United Nations Department of Safety and Security and the National Democratic Institute's Information and Communications Technology staff. In 2011, she was honored as one of Forbes magazine's '30 Under 30' in the field of law and policy.
Wes Morgan, CTO
Wes got his start building PCs in high school as a part-time job and has been geeking out ever since. He got involved in progressive politics in 2004 when he joined the online organizing team of the Public Interest Network. There, he worked with over 75 different non-profit organizations to help them craft and execute online fundraising and advocacy campaigns. In 2010, he began building voter registration and virtual phone banking tools used by tens of thousands of people in the 2010 election cycle. He currently lives in Denver with his wife and two boys. When not making the Internet safe for democracy, he enjoys brewing beer and spending time in the mountains.
Troy Hill, Senior Developer
Troy came to Colorado to work in technology and planned to stay only a couple of years. 14 years later, he's still loving Colorado and technology. He has worked for companies big and small, largely with a focus on building the backends of web applications. He's worked on sites in real estate, yellow pages, newspaper, and online conferencing. During the 2008 election cycle he got involved with the political scene, caucusing and volunteering for canvassing. On the days he's not behind a keyboard, he's often snowboarding, hiking, biking, camping, working on DIY projects, or frequenting craft coffee shops and micro breweries.
Junie François Pswarayi, Administrative Director
Brooklyn-born and raised, Junie recently returned to the great borough after attending the University of Maryland, College Park and residing for many years in Maryland and Washington, DC. She brings ten years of experience from the private and nonprofit sectors, including employers as diverse as Language etc, The Africa Society, and a renowned polling firm in Washington, DC. Her most recent endeavors before joining Democracy Works have been centered on devising marketing strategies, client cultivation, and implementing an accounting online system for a startup and consulting with a New York based interior design firm. Outside of work, you can find her trying something new with her husband, watching a scary movie, and encouraging voter participation, canvassing, and volunteering in her community.
Christopher Shea, VP of Engineering
Christopher has been writing code since being introduced to an Apple IIe in elementary school, but waited to start programming professionally until after getting an MFA in Writing from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago. He’s worked for startups in Denver and New York, mostly hacking on civic data and using technology to connect people with their communities, making Democracy Works a perfect match. Christopher has acted at the Curious Theatre Branch in Chicago and the Upright Citizens Brigade Theatre in New York. He lives in Brooklyn with his wife, who would really like a dog, and his daughter, who isn’t old enough to understand that you can do that.
Maria Bianchi, Director, Voting Information Project
A graduate of Michigan State University, Maria's love of the political process has led her from DC, where she won the inaugural Washington Media Scholars Case Competition, to registering voters with the Oregon Bus Project, and to South Dakota as a campaign organizer. A Buffalo, New York native, Maria is excited to be back in the Empire State after spending two years teaching in rural Arkansas as a Teach for America Corps Member.
Monica Crane Childers, Director of Government Services
Monica is an election technology nerd with a background in digital product design and project management. As Democracy Works’s Director of Government Services she champions collaborative design, partnering with state and local officials to build low-cost, open source solutions for election administration. Recent projects include the mail ballot tracking solution Ballot Scout, the reporting website ElectionMail.org, and the nascent Election Technology Trust.
Mike Ward, Program Director, TurboVote
Mike Ward is the TurboVote Program Director at Democracy Works. He comes to the civic engagement field with experience in human rights and inter-religious peace work. He studied conflict resolution in graduate school and is amazed at the consistent response people give upon hearing that: "We could use more conflict resolution in the world today." Mike spends his work days developing TurboVote partnerships with colleges, nonprofits, for-profits, and government entities. He also directs the TurboVote Challenge, a community of companies and nonprofits working together to achieve 80 percent voter turnout. Outside of work, Mike was born and (mostly) raised in the great state of New Jersey and feels lucky to be living a full - and fulfilling - life in New York City.
Brandon Naylor, Director of Communications
As the director of communications for Democracy Works, Brandon serves as the organizational spokesperson, manages strategic communications, and oversees media relations for the organization. Originally from Topeka, he graduated from the University of Kansas (Go Jayhawks!), where he was an intern at the Dole Institute of Politics. He then spent six years working for members of congress in Washington, DC, followed by a stint in the nonprofit advocacy sector. Brandon spent time in the academic world as the Operations and Communications Coordinator for Washburn University and, most recently, managed a statewide political campaign. Having returned home, he now represents half of the 'Kansas satellite office.' He is a member of the International Association of Business Communicators and spends his time enjoying all four seasons, following Royals baseball, and maintaining a passionate love affair with noodles of all kinds.
Quinn Formel, Executive Assistant
As executive assistant, Quinn keeps the executive team organized and focused. He hails originally from Guaynabo, Puerto Rico and Claverack, New York and graduated with a BA from Tufts University. Quinn has previously served as a sailor on a shipping vessel and as an inventory manager at MakerBot Industries, a 3-D printing company. Quinn and his wife, Jonna, live in Brooklyn, where he spends his free time cooking, reading, rooting for the Brooklyn Cyclones, and singing regularly to his house plants (his wife actually takes care of them).
Jill Brownfield, Partner Support Lead, TurboVote
Jill works with TurboVote’s partners to maximize their voter registration and engagement efforts, finding ways to more fully engage in the voting process. As a member of the implementations team, it’s her job to help partners design and execute sustainable voter initiatives that have a huge impact! Jill is a graduate of Stetson University with a BA in political science and she works remotely from California, though she’s a native Floridian. She’s a rugby player and an avid Cubs fan.
Emily Giffin, Partner Support Lead, TurboVote
Emily is a partner support lead on the TurboVote team, helping college campuses across the country pair technology with civic engagement best practices. She graduated from the University of Missouri with a Bachelor of Journalism degree and welcomes any opportunity to discuss the always-exciting world of higher ed (read: reminisce about the good ol' days). Before joining Democracy Works, she was a part of the edtech team at Scholastic. Emily's based in our Brooklyn office and when she's not chatting with TurboVote partners, you'll most likely find her dancing, trying a new restaurant, or petting a stranger's dog.
Sean Duckett, Software Developer
Sean was raised in the Gulf Coast plains of Texas and earned a BS in computer science at Sam Houston State University. He then moved to Colorado with dreams of high-country bikepacking trips and found it, followed shortly by ski touring in the winter. At Democracy Works, Sean works on TurboVote and Ballot Scout, but he mostly enjoys building simple tools that amplify their wielders. Prior to joining Democracy Works, he worked with the American Thrombosis and Hemostasis Network to build and deploy an EMR system for use in hospitals nationwide. He's also helped develop trading analysis systems, been a systems administrator, and learned the art of dishwashing the day before Valentine’s Day. At the moment, he's learning about tree skiing, the planning of his wedding, brewing saison and cider, and reading the weather from the clouds.
Dave Della Costa, Software Developer
Dave is a software developer at Democracy Works who has experience with backend and frontend development. He has a background in both the nonprofit and for-profit sectors, giving him insight to various user experiences. Dave is originally from the Rochester, New York area and now lives in Brooklyn with his wife.
Franklin Smith, Data Lead, Voting Information Project
Franklin comes to Democracy Works with a background in data management and application support over 8 years in both the private and nonprofit sectors. As data lead for the Voting Information Project (VIP), he assists states with designing and generating VIP-formatted data feeds for elections. Originally from Macon, Georgia, he is a Ramblin' Wreck from Georgia Tech, where he earned his bachelor's degree. Franklin loves data, democracy, and life as a bike commuter. He's also currently learning to kick a soccer ball with his left foot.
Anjelica Smith, Campus Outreach Lead, TurboVote
Anjelica is a native Virginian but now happily calls Brooklyn, New York home. In her role as campus outreach lead, she focuses on growing and sustaining the TurboVote higher education program, equipping as many students as possible with the information and materials they need to vote in every election. Anjelica has bachelor's and master's degrees in communication from Virginia Tech, where she twice served as student body vice president. One of her most memorable student leadership experiences was collaborating with university and local government leaders to bring a polling place to Virginia Tech’s student center to better serve on-campus voters. A two-time TurboVote summer associate, Anjelica also served as a governor's fellow in the office of the Governor of Virginia and worked at the Congressional Budget Office. She ran four campaigns for elected positions in college, but secretly her favorite victory was being crowned high school prom queen.
Katrina Hall, Software Developer
Katrina is a software developer joining the Democracy Works team from her hometown of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. She is a graduate of the College of William and Mary, as well as the Hackbright Academy, a San Francisco-based coding bootcamp. Her previous experience has been with the Carnegie Museums of Pittsburgh and, more recently, startups TrademarkVision and 360fly. Her and her husband Justin are full-fledged board game experts and, chances are, they'll turn you into one, too. She is an avid reader, a fact readily evidenced by her Harry Potter tattoo.
Kendall Schreur, Government Outreach Lead, Voting Information Project
Kendall works with election administrators to make official election data available to voters everywhere through the Voting Information Project. She has experience in business development, public relations, and fundraising, but was hooked on making voting easy since she worked as a summer associate with Democracy Works in 2014. Kendall grew up in Michigan and earned a BA in English literature and political science from the University of Michigan, where she became passionate about civil rights scholarship and American political history. Kendall works out of Brooklyn, where you can frequently find her at a bookstore, movie theater, or a Greenpoint cafe, most likely telling somebody why they should be more involved in the democratic process.
Gordon Statton, Software Developer
A software developer specializing in core infrastructure, Gordon has previously managed servers and cloud infrastructure, working on everything from low-level network programming to web development. He is also the author of an award-winning open source university housing system, claims to have peaked in elementary school when he won the school spelling bee both years he was eligible to do so, and enjoys landscaping/gardening. Born and raised in Washington state, he earned his bachelor’s degree in computer science from Western Washington University and currently resides in the greater Seattle area with his wife and their cat, Mycroft.
Benjamin Lamothe, Software Developer
Originally from Atlanta, GA, Benjamin is a software developer at Democracy Works focused on making voting easier. He has previously served as an engineering team lead at Spreemo, a software engineer at Visible Measures, and was a co-founder of Amicus. He holds a Bachelor’s of Science in theoretical math from MIT. He's an avid traveler, having visited 16 countries on 4 continents, but considers himself a mediocre cook and an expert eater of Haitian food in particular.
Sara Clark, Senior Partnerships Associate, TurboVote
Sara is a partnerships associate on the TurboVote team, helping higher education partners engage their campuses with the tool. She comes to Democracy Works with a political and nonprofit background, having worked on campaigns as well as in the educational endowment space. A graduate of Williams College and a Pennsylvania native, she has made the move to New York City to work in our Brooklyn office.
Amy Cohen, Director of Government Outreach
As the Democracy Works Director of Government Outreach, Amy works primarily with election officials and administrators to find ways technology can make their jobs easier. She spent four years with the Pew Charitable Trusts, where she managed the Voting Information Project (VIP), guided national research projects, and forged relationships throughout the corporate and nonprofit sector. Most recently, she co-founded and served as the Director of Operations for the Center for Election Innovation & Research (CEIR). The founding member of the Democracy Works Washington, DC office, Amy works with the Election Technology Cooperative, building and strengthening relationships with state and local election officials, and encouraging adoption of online voter registration APIs. Never afraid to pitch in, Amy is a member of the DC Snow Team, which volunteers to shovel snowy sidewalks for the elderly and infirm across the District.
Sarah Berlin, Data Specialist, Voting Information Project
Sarah works on the Voting Information Project, helping states and counties incorporate local data and writing scripts to parse election data. She is no newcomer to the civic technology sector, having previously worked to expand access to election information since 2014, first at the New Organizing Institute and then at the Center for Technology and Civic Life, where she managed data collection for the Ballot Information Project. Before that, she worked in journalism as both a fact-checker and as a writer. She has a bachelor's from Carleton College, but originally hails from Amherst, Massachusetts. In her free time, Sarah volunteer teaches coding classes for women, spends time with her dog Sweet Pea, and walks in the woods whenever she can. She would also eat breakfast food for every meal if she could.
Ada Vargas, Researcher
Ada Vargas is Democracy Works’s trusty researcher helping keep the systems chugging along with data finds. A Chicagoan at heart, they’ve been involved with elections since they were 16 and have been fascinated by how our democracy runs ever since. Having had their fingers in all sorts of civic engagement pots from grassroots organizing to dancing to Beyoncé all day while registering thousands of voters, Ada is very excited to work with the Democracy Works team on this forward thinking civic adventure. Apart from elections research, Ada also spends copious amounts of time researching and executing vegan recipes. At times they have trouble falling asleep due to anticipation from finding some particularly exciting recipe. Food, travel, and high voter turnout are some of the things closest to their heart.
Mesha Byrd, Government Outreach Lead
Mesha is the government outreach lead for Democracy Works. In partnership with state and local officials, she creates and provides solutions for election authorities. Mesha previously worked in education doing civic and community engagement which sparked her interest in Democracy Works. She holds a bachelor’s degree in regional economic development from Georgia Southern University and a masters of science in nonprofit management from The New School. Originally from right outside of Atlanta, she roots for all things Georgia! When Mesha is not trying to solve the nation’s issues, you can catch her spending time with her tight-knit family, cooking, traveling, and people watching.
Jonathan Brown, Software Engineer
Jonathan Brown, Democracy Works Software Engineer, originally from Lake Worth, Florida received his bachelor’s degree in mathematics from the University of New Orleans. Alongside being an avid Saints fan (Who Dat!), he has previously written web applications from top to bottom. Jonathan works on TurboVote to bring modern web technologies to bear on the problem of voter participation.
Esha Rakhit, Senior Product Manager, TurboVote
Esha grew up in the Garden State and received her bachelor’s in political science from Boston University. When Esha isn’t working to keep her houseplants alive, she is our TurboVote Senior Product Manager, where she translates complex election administration rules into easy-to-use voter registration workflows and election reminders. Prior to joining Democracy Works, she spent eight years building voter contact, fundraising, and engagement tools for campaigns and nonprofit organizations. In her free time, she also enjoys painting and traveling around the world.
Shakhed Hadaya, Administrative Associate
As administrative associate, Shakhed wears many hats. Originally from Connecticut, Shakhed makes sure the Brooklyn office is running smoothly. She handles Democracy Works finances, human resources, and office management. Shakhed has her bachelor’s of fine arts from the School of Visual Arts. She continually puts her skills to good use by making things which includes sculpting, making fiber art pieces scenic designs, and illustrations.
Mike Richards, Software Developer
Mike is a software developer at Democracy Works helping to make technology work for voters. He is a graduate of Prescott College with a bachelor’s in natural history and ecology. Before joining the software realm he worked for years as a biologist, farmer, and teacher. His experience in software has been building the backend for web and mobile apps. Mike is originally from North Carolina, now living in Providence, Rhode Island. When he isn’t working on technology to help voters, he is either making an irresistible pastry or backpacking across the nation.
Jessenia Eliza, Government Program Lead
As the government program lead for Democracy Works, Jessenia serves as the main point of contact for government partners. She spends her time overseeing Ballot Scout and Government Election Notifications, ensuring partners receive the support they need by answering inquiries or providing technical assistance. Jessenia graduated from Ithaca College with a BA in psychology and minors in Latin American studies and sociology. Before joining the Democracy Works team, Jessenia founded a consulting firm, providing nonprofit and local government entities with various program, grant, and technical services. Prior to this, she served as a nonprofit associate director, overseeing workforce development initiatives, and as a programs specialist for the refugee resettlement agency CWS. Jessenia is also a published researcher. In 2015, her collaborative study on the psycho-social factors that affect diabetes management was published in the journal for American Indian and Alaska Native Mental Health Research. In her spare time, Jessenia is a competitive distance runner, climber, horror movie aficionado, and expert budget backpacker - she has traveled to 36 states and counting and to more than 30 countries across four continents.
Marissa Jones, Corporate Outreach Lead, TurboVote
Marissa is ensuring that civic engagement is embedded into corporate culture. Originally from Dedham, Massachusetts, Marissa earned a BA from Hampshire College. She has had plenty of work experience both in the nonprofit and for-profit sectors, including working at Yelp, a variety of youth-serving nonprofits, and a bakery specializing in high-end wedding cakes, that was on the food network! Marissa is a voracious reader and a dance and performance art enthusiast. With her love for trivia, she is waiting for her chance to win Jeopardy. Until then, she will work in our Brooklyn office telling her three good jokes and serving as our corporate outreach lead.
Rahul Gaikwad, Partnerships Associate, TurboVote
As the partnerships associate, Rahul works with partnerships team in conducting outreach and implementation for TurboVote partners. Rahul enjoys working in the Brooklyn office because of the opportunities in New York for grassroots organizing. Prior to joining Democracy Works, he worked as a management consultant in Dallas and enjoyed studying Mandarin. Growing up with both parents as teachers, he has always had a love for learning. He graduated with a Bachelors of Arts in Economics at the University of Oklahoma "Boomer Sooner!" In his free time, you can find him searching New York for the best pizza, bagels, and foreign snacks.
Gaciru Matathia, Operations Associate
Gaciru is the operations associate, a part of the research team supporting and strengthening daily operations. She is an only child with a large extended family scattered across the United States and Kenya. Gaciru studied international affairs with a minor in social entrepreneurship at Northeastern University. Previously, she worked across fields of tech, law, and education but has always been driven by the desire to increase the public’s access to tools and resources. When not using her skills to research for Democracy Works, you can find this self-proclaimed introvert cherishing her alone time to peruse the depths of the internet—whether it’s finding a new favorite mix on SoundCloud or stumbling onto a great web series. Looking for some new dance moves? Gaciru loves attending local dance fitness classes and finding workshops for dance styles she has never tried before.
Sara J. Martinez, Junior Software Developer
Sara serves as a Democracy Works Junior Software Developer. As the founding member of our remote office in Virginia, she works primarily on Ballot Scout because she finds it important to improve accessibility of information. Sara came to web development from a career in journalism, where she made news come to life online, working on internal tools, special projects, advertisements, and the site CMS for a large online magazine with more than 1 million daily users. Then she worked at a startup in the transportation/logistics industry working on a CRM and workflow management tools. She earned her bachelor of arts in journalism and Spanish from Marquette University, master of science in journalism from Northwestern University, and went to the software engineering bootcamp at Hackbright Academy. She is an avid Chicago fan, loving both the White Sox and Bears! Sara, her husband Tim, and dog Chewie enjoy going on walks, watching lots of TV, and running half marathons.
Sonya Mohamed Glazer, Director of Finance and Human Resources
Sonya serves as Director of Finance and Human Resources in our Brooklyn office. She has devoted her career to the public sector, previously working at Community Resource Exchange in NYC, the NYC Office of Management and Budget, and Center for an Urban Future. Sonya has a BA in Public Policy Analysis/Politics from Pomona College and an MPA from Columbia University’s School of International and Public Affairs. When she is not overseeing the finance and human resources portfolios of the company, she is spending time with her husband and two kids exploring the five boroughs. She also spends many weekends cheering on her kids while they play baseball, soccer, and flag football. Before starting a family, she lived in Bolivia for six months and she loves to travel as much as she can.